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Yellowtail Snapper: Fishing The Florida Keys For Yellowtail

Yellowtail Snapper: Fishing The Florida Keys For Yellowtail

Fishing The Florida Keys Reefs For Yellowtail Snapper Is A Type Of Offshore Fishing Anglers Visit The Keys To Do

One of my favorite types of fishing is for yellowtail snapper. Yellowtail snappers are some of the best eating fish you can catch. Catching them is fun because often you chum them off of the reef. When they start biting usually, you will fill a cooler full. Yellowtail snapper provides a boat full of fun and can be an excellent way to entertain a family on a fishing trip. Yellowtail snappers are hard fighters, and when you hook into the larger fish, they will give you a great fight. Because you chum for yellowtail snapper often it will bring other fish up off the reef, so the possibilities of catching other fish like grouper and hog snappers always exist.

Yellowtail hitting Baitfish

Florida Keys Yellowtail (Photo Credit: Into The Blue Fishing)

Maybe you have always wondered what its like to go on a yellowtail snapper fishing trip. Let us help you be successful at it and pocket a cooler full of beautiful yellow snapper. Our tips for how to catch them and tricks for rigging your line for yellowtail will give you what you need to catch them. We will explore the different habitats that yellowtail live in and the required baits to catch them. This is our complete guide to yellowtail fishing the Florida Keys.

Where Do You Find Yellowtail Snapper?

Yellowtail snapper is a species of snapper found throughout the Caribbean and reefs of the gulf. They are a warm water fish that can be found amongst the reef life. They are recognizable with their single yellow strip that can be found down the lateral line of the fish. When the yellowtails are juveniles, they tend to reside around the shallow inshore reefs. As they grow, you can find them in depths of about 60 to 120 feet around live bottom.

If you are fishing for yellowtail snapper an excellent place to start is by looking for live bottom, a drop-off, or some type of hump on the bottom. Many fish will stack on structures like this. Once you have located an area that could potentially hold yellowtail the goal should be to anchor and chum.

What Equipment Do I Need For Yellowtail Fishing?

Catching Yellowtail

The Right Gear For Catching Yellowtail Snapper In Critical

(Photo Credit: Saltwater Sportsman)

The best type of rod and reel to use for yellowtail snapper fishing is a spinning rod and spinning reel. One of the best reels that I love to use is the Canyon Reel Saltwater 5000. A spinning reel is perfect for letting line out to free line for yellowtail snapper. The best rod to pair with your reel is a Blackfin spinning reel rod. This will give you enough play in the rod to feel the bit of a yellowtail but also is best to bring in that large mackerel or Barracuda that hits. The line that you place on this reel is important for yellowtails. Because of their keen eyesight, fluorocarbon is a must. 15lb to 20lb fluoro works best for yellowtail snapper. The best bait for yellowtail is cut bait after you have successfully chummed them up from the bottom. Hook size ranges from size 4  to 2/0. Depending on the hook size will determine your bait size. If you are not free lining a hook then anglers often use yellowtail jigs. The last two things you need are a good anchor to post up on a reef and a chum bag to hang a bag of chum off the back.

Always let the chum do its job. It will bring the fish up. Many times anglers grow impatient, but let it work. Not only will you bring up yellowtail from the reef, but you will bring up every different kind of creature as well. It will be in your best interest to have several other rods pre-rigged for big fish that come into your chum slick. A bottom rod is another good idea with a live bait on it for grouper or any other bottom-dwelling fish. As an angler, you must adapt when yellowtail fishing and be ready for anything that bites.

How Do You Chum For Yellowtail Snapper?

Sandball Chum For Yellowtail Snapper

Sandball Chum For Yellowtail Snapper (Photo Credit: Florida Sport Fishing)

Yellowtail snappers are known for their schools. Once you find one, you will find the school. Yellowtails are a brilliant fish and have excellent eyesight. This is beneficial when in large schools. One cool fact that many people do not realize is fluorocarbon fishing line was made to catch yellowtail because commercial fishermen could not get them to bite.

One of the most effective ways for getting yellowtail snapper into a feeding frenzy is by chumming. Chumming is usually a mixture of ground-up fish parts and blood mixed with oats and other ingredients then frozen. Its these frozen blocks of chum that create a chum line behind the boat with the current that yellowtail snapper cannot resist. When the yellowtail begins to feed on the chum line anglers should implement the "sand balling" technique for catching them.

Sand balling is an effective way for fishing for yellowtail. On your pole, you attach a yellowtail jig usually in pink or chartreuse color that weighs 1/32oz or 1/16oz. To effectively sand ball you will need to mix a chum mixture that will hold around the hook and yellowtail jig and slowly disintegrate the deeper it gets. This tends to be an effective way to fish for yellowtail because the oats and sand in the sand ball create a cloud in the water minimizing the excellent vision of the yellowtail. This will put your jig and squid directly in front of the yellowtail perfect for a bite.

Yellowtail Snapper in The Keys

Florida Keys Yellowtail Fishing

Yellowtail snapper fishing is the perfect Florida keys fishing. Not only do you get great action, but you will fill a cooler full of fish, perfect for dinner. If you have any questions or comments, we want to hear them and answer them. Feel free to leave us a comment below or email us at Send us your yellowtail snapper pictures to be featured on all of our social media pages. Maybe you have a tip that we have not mentioned we would love to hear it and share with our readers. If you have always wondered what it would be like to go yellowtail snapper fishing, then we hope you find this article informative.


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